UA tackling Guangzhou multiplex
EmptyHONG KONG -- UA Cinemas will open a six-screen multiplex in Guangzhou in early 2009, Bob Vallone, director and general manager at Lark International Multimedia, told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.
"The cinema will have every five-star requirement that's been inactive in China and all of the creature comforts built in. The proof is when you sit down, the picture is bright, sound is perfect, and you become engrossed in the move and it's an event," Vallone said.
The cinema, which also will house a Thai Orchids restaurant, will be located in the new Metropolitan Plaza mall and seat about 950 patrons. The cost is projected at about HK$20 million ($2.6 million).
"We look at Guangzhou as a very upcoming city. It has one of the highest disposable incomes in China, (and) it's a Cantonese-speaking region so we can show Cantonese films from Hong Kong.
"Our long-term plans in China are to continue to provide new technologies. I'm intrigued by holographic breakthroughs that are being made at the moment, but I think that's still 10 years away. Digital technologies will help to create the gateway for day-and-date release, which for me would be wonderful," Vallone said.
UA currently operates eight cinemas in Hong Kong with 38 screens, accounting for 20% of the local market. Two more venues are scheduled by the end of the year. The company also operates the smallest and most successful Imax theater in Hong Kong.
The announcement comes on the eve of the CineAsia confab set for Tuesday-Thursday in the southern Chinese special administrative region and gambling haven of Macau. Vallone is due to be honored as CineAsia's 2007 Exhibitor of the Year for his development of the multiplex market in Hong Kong.
Steven Schwankert in Beijing contributed to this report.